Featuring industry trailblazers from Convent & Stuart Hall and Sacred Heart Atherton, the panel told personal stories of challenges and growth from various fields within technology.
April 27 marked the beginning of the 41st Associated Alumnae & Alumni of the Sacred Heart National Conference (AASH), which included three afternoon panels featuring alumni of Sacred Heart schools who are making an impact in arts and entertainment, technology and as Olympic athletes.
The "Creating the Future with Technology" panel, led by retired longtime Convent & Stuart Hall dean and faculty member Joanna Gallegos, featured an impressive lineup of industry leaders, including two Convent & Stuart Hall alumni:
- Libby Brittain '07'03, Facebook Media Partnerships
- Nick McSpadden SHB'98, Facebook Client Engineer
- Jen O'Neal, Founder and CEO of Tripping.com
- Marco Zappacosta, Co-founder and CEO of Thumbtack.com
Joanna led a conversation on hot topics in the industry – virtual reality, cybersecurity, how digital personas are changing human connection and how devices will look in five years.
Libby, who was recently named to Forbes Magazine's "30 Under 30" list for media," started the panel by emphasizing that you don't need be an engineer to work at a tech company. "I wanted to work at the intersection of media and technology," she told the audience, which included alumni from 34 Sacred Heart schools across the U.S. and internationally. "Now I help a team of about 200 people go out into the world and explain what Facebook has to offer."
The first big laugh of the session came even before Nick finished introducing himself. "Unlike Libby, I don't get to talk to the outside world very much," he said, smiling. Before getting hired by Facebook last year, Nick worked in the tech department at Convent & Stuart Hall. He insists his career path "sort of happened by accident. I just kept playing with computers and eventually someone noticed, and they started paying me for it."
Joanna asked the panelists to explain how technology is changing the landscape of human interactions. Libby pointed to tools, such as Facebook groups, that make it easy to meet and interact with people who have similar interests. Nick said that technology is designed to give us better use of a universal constraint: time.
At the end of the panel, an attendee asked about the role of Sacred Heart education in their lives. "So much of what we learn in the Sacred Heart system is to allocate our energy in a way that helps people," Libby said, "and there's a lot in the technology industry that gets at those same sentiments about wanting to improve other people's experience and be a steward of the world."
The four-day biennial conference, chaired by Convent administrative assistant Jeanne Asdourian, included events at Sacred Heart Atherton, Lone Mountain and a gala dinner in the Flood Mansion.
Photo credit: Michael Hong